Posted by: 2in10 | 05/19/2011

the julie fund

I had dinner this week with my daughter and her dear friend who is a medical doctor, currently a first year resident in ob/gyn. These two girls are in their late 20s with birthdays one week apart, close to Christmas. They have been friends since they were one year old and shared their birthday parties. (Their mothers were working-mom buddies and we were neighbors.) 

The doctor was on gyn/oncology rotation and was having a rough week. She was feeling very sad about her patient age 35 with ovarian cancer. “Her husband brings their three- and five-year-olds in to the hospital to visit,” she said. “She won’t be going home. We are holding her until an appropriate hospice bed opens up.”

We were glad to be together, so she could see and hug someone who has had a remarkable recovery from ovarian cancer and 17 years of tumor- and treatment-free life to bring a daughter and son to adulthood with their dad.

In 2004 Julie McAvinn died three months after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She left her husband and three children, ages 9, 7, and 2. Her family established The Julie Fund for Women’s Cancers at her request to help women and their families. The fund supports research and education and provides funding for patient and family support. Visit for more info.

When I asked our young doctor, who hopes to have children of her own someday, if she was OK, she said, “Yes, this is part of our training, to learn how to deal with these losses without losing our humanity.” Strength training of a different sort, no?

Be well,



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